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06 April 2009

The knee joint

The knee joint is a joint composed of three bones: the femur (thigh bone), the tibia (shin bone) and the patella (knee cap). The ends of the three bones are covered with cartilage and cushioning called menisci. The cartilage and menisci are made of a tough, elastic material that helps absorb shock and allows the knee joint to move smoothly. Two groups of muscles, the quadriceps muscle in the front and the hamstring muscles along the back, allow the knee to move. The quadriceps tendon connects the quadriceps muscle to the patella. The medial collateral ligament (MCL), the lateral collateral ligament (LCL), and the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments are some of the ligaments that connect the bones and provide stability.

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